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10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

Having a balanced, healthy, and filling dinner is something that I need during the week to keep up my energy and avoid binge snacking. But there are some weeks where it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to work, take care of chores, and make a delicious dinner that isn’t boxed mac and cheese. 

One of the ways I’ve found to work around this is to prepare chicken in marinades on Sunday afternoons. That way come Wednesday at 6:30 when all you want to do is lie down on the couch, all the seasoning and preparing the chicken is done. All that’s left is to cook it. But the key thing to remember is to have variety in your marinades. No one enjoys having the same meal over and over again each night. So, use these delicious and easy chicken marinades to make your weeknights a little bit easier. 

1. Tandoori Chicken

Ingredients:

1½ -2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

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3/4 cup plain yogurt

3 cloves garlic minced

1-inch fresh ginger minced

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1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons ground garam masala

1 teaspoon chili powder

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1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice from ½ lemon

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Directions: 

1. Place all marinade ingredients in a large sealable plastic bag. Mix to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to 8. Grill or bake as desired.  

10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

2. Chicken Shawarma

Ingredients: 

2 pounds of chicken breasts

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¼ cup olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

3 cloves garlic, smashed

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2 tablespoons honey (or pure maple syrup or agave, if vegan)

1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

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3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

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3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

optional: up to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

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Directions: 

1. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, honey, cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, turmeric, & cayenne to a bowl or jar. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Whisk or shake to combine then place in a gallon-size zip-loc bag. Add chicken and shake the bag to coat evenly. Let marinate for 1 hour or overnight. Grill or bake as desired. 

10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

3. Jerk Chicken

Ingredients: 

1/3 cup olive oil

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1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup soy sauce

4 green onions cut into 1-inch pieces

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1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon garlic coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons ginger coarsely chopped

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1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 scotch bonnet pepper stem removed, you can remove seeds and ribs for less heat

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

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1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

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1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 lbs bone-in chicken

Directions:

1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse or blend until a mostly smooth mixture forms. Pour the marinade over 3 pounds of bone-in chicken pieces.  Let the chicken sit in the marinade for at least one hour or up to 12 hours. Grill or bake as desired, then serve.

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10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

4. Chicken Satay

Ingredients: 

3 tablespoons oil

2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only

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2 cloves garlic, peeled

6 small shallots or pearl onions, peeled

2 teaspoons turmeric powder

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1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 tablespoon salt or more to taste

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2 tablespoons sugar or honey

Directions:

1. Cut the chicken meat into small cubes. Set aside. Blend all the marinade ingredients in a food processor. Add a little water if needed. Combine the chicken and the marinade together, and stir to mix well. Marinate the chicken for 6 hours in the fridge, or best overnight. When ready, thread 3-4 pieces of chicken meat onto the bamboo skewers. Grill or bake as desired. 

10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

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5. Chili Garlic Chicken

Ingredients: 

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or minced

1 tablespoon Asian chili-garlic sauce

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1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon honey

½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar

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Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a jar or bowl. Shake or whisk together. Pour over chicken or pork in a container or zip-top bag. Marinate for 4-12 hours depending on the cut of meat. Grill or bake as desired.

10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

6. Cilantro Lime

Ingredients: 

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1/4 cup olive oil

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1 lime, juice

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

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3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

1. Place the chicken breasts in a large ziplock bag. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt, garlic, and pepper. Pour the marinade over the chicken and seal the bag, squeezing out all the air. Move the chicken around in the marinade until it is all evenly coated. Refrigerate and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Grill or bake as desired. 

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10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

7. Ginger Soy Chicken

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup brown sugar 

3 tablespoons soy sauce 

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2 cloves garlic 

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

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Freshly cracked pepper 

1 tablespoon cooking oil

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 

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1/2 tablespoon cooking oil 

Directions: 

  1. Mince the garlic and grate the ginger using a fine-holed cheese grater or box grater. In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, some freshly cracked pepper (about 15 cranks of a pepper mill), and cooking oil. Place the chicken thighs in a shallow dish or a gallon-size zip-lock bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and turn to coat. Cover the chicken and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to a day (refrigerated). Grill or bake as desired. 

10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

8. Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup olive oil

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1/3 cup lime juice

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon sugar

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1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cloves garlic minced

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1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1-2 tablespoons of chili powder depending on the heat level of your chili powder. I use a mild chili powder so I do the full 2 tablespoons.

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1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

1. Place the olive oil, lime juice, water, sugar, kosher salt, cumin, garlic, smoked paprika, onion powder, chili powder, and pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine. Add 1 pound of sliced chicken, 1 1/2 cups of sliced bell peppers, and 1/2 cup of sliced onions to the bowl and toss to coat. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Grill or bake as desired. 

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10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

9. BBQ Chicken

Ingredients: 

1 cup BBQ sauce

1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable, plus more for the grill

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2 cloves garlic, grated or minced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

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Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces

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Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk BBQ sauce, oil, garlic, soy sauce, smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Reserve ¼ cup of the sauce in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to grill. Add chicken to the large bowl and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight. Grill or bake as desired. 

10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

10. Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients: 

½ cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

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1-2 tablespoons brown sugar optional to offset the acidity from the vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic minced (or more to taste)

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2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

salt + pepper to taste (I use 1 – 1.5 teaspoons of regular table salt)

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast

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Directions: 

1. Place all marinade ingredients in a measuring jug and whisk very well. Place chicken in a zip-loc bag (or alternatively in a shallow dish). Pour marinade on top, making sure all chicken pieces are covered all over. Seal the dish or bag well and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to overnight. Grill or bake as desired. 

10 Easy Chicken Marinades For Busy Weeknights

What do you guys think of these chicken marinades? Will you use them for your next dinner? Let us know in the comments below!